Approximately 12 years ago, I made pretty much the best dessert ever for my parent’s Thanksgiving dinner party: Mini turkeys. That’s right. Painstakingly hand-made mini turkeys consisting of a Hershey’s kiss and Oreo cookie body, candy corn feathers, and cut up Twizzlers for the wattle. Finishing those turkeys constituted basically the proudest moment of my life up to that point. Someone (besides my parents) even complimented me on them!
But then . . . no one ate them. Correction: I ate two. One brave adult ate one. And two of my friends, also around the age of 10, each ate one. Sad life. I’ve tried to block out that particular dessert experience from my mind for many years. Now, though, as I reflect back upon my first dessert rejection, I guess I (sorta kinda) get it.
I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat a mashup of store-bought candy masquerading as a dessert that had been touched and molded into shape with the possibly dirty (but I always washed my hands with soap – even under my fingernails!!!) fingers of a ten-year-old. I’m going on record now, though, to say that if I come across those lovely mini turkeys in my Thanksgiving festivities this year, I promise to eat one. Scratch that. I’m getting five of those suckers. Props to little kids who believe in their dessert craft!
In an effort to avoid the pain of rejection, though, I decided to create a more adult palate friendly dessert this year. And it’s still shaped like a turkey. Hah! Though it can be traditionally truffle shaped for those who so desire. As I considered different food combinations in my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about pumpkin and cream cheese. So, I didn’t. Instead, I used them, along with some powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and pumpkin pie spice as the filling for my truffles. Ermahgawd. I would most definitely eat this filling by itself. In a bowl – no melted chocolate covering or decoration needed.
But, luckily for you lovely readers, I decided not to stop there, but to instead shape it into two sizes of truffles (the larger for the turkey body, the smaller for the head) and stick pretzel sticks in for feathers. Then, I added food coloring to melted chocolate chips to create some eyes, a beak, and a wattle. Let’s just say that took a little perfecting (On my first attempt, I ended up with a zombie turkey. Not the best). But this time, I’m pretty sure people will eat these turkeys.
P.S. As I typed that sentence, my sister headed to the refrigerator for half of a truffle. Aww yeah.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Thanksgiving Truffles
Yield: 18 turkey truffles or 24 regular truffles
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 8 oz (half a package) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 4 cups crushed graham crackers
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups pretzel sticks
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 5 drops red food coloring
- 5 drops orange food coloring
- On a low speed, beat together pumpkin puree, cream cheese, powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and spices. Scoop out and mold 18 spheres about one inch in diameter (turkey body), and 18 spheres about 1/3 inch in diameter (turkey head). Freeze for at least two hours.
- In separate bowls, melt semisweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. Divide the melted white chocolate into three bowls. Leave the first batch as is, color the second batch red, and color the third orange. Put each batch of melted white chocolate chips into a separate pastry piping bag (or ziploc bag).
- To assemble each turkey, dip one large sphere and one small sphere in the semisweet chocolate chips. Stack the smaller truffle on top of the larger, and, while the chocolate is still malleable, stick 5 pretzel sticks into the side of the larger, bottom truffle (Do this quickly – The pumpkin center needs to be cold so it won’t melt when dipped in the chocolate, but this also means that the chocolate will solidify around the cold center very fast).
- Take the plain melted white chocolate chip pastry bag and pipe out two small circles for eyes on the smaller truffle. Then, pipe an upside-down triangular beak using the orange colored batch. Finally, pipe a small red wattle streaming off of the beak with the red batch. Put the turkey truffle in the fridge. When the white irises have solidified, use a fork or toothpick to add a brown pupil using the melted semisweet chocolate.